Data centre failure causes PayPal outage

Internet payments system PayPal suffered a widespread outage that lasted for several hours late last week, leaving merchants using the platform unable to complete electronic transactions.

On Friday, a series of service interruptions meant that the PayPal website was unavailable to all users for a period of about four hours. The company blamed this on a network hardware failure at one of its data centres.

PayPal, which is owned by auction website eBay, has 87 million active accounts across 190 countries.

Issues began at around 08:00 Pacific US time, before being partially restored at 08:45. The problem was declared fully resolved by 09:25. However, a second round of technical hitches began at 11:30 as the company struggled to get back up systems running. PayPal says the issues were fixed once and for all by 12:21.

"A network hardware failure in one of our data centres resulted in a service interruption for all PayPal users worldwide," wrote CTO Scot Guilfoyle in a company blog post. "Everyone in our organisation was immediately engaged to identify the issue and get PayPal back up and running. We were not able to switch over to our back up systems as quickly as planned."

PayPal accounts for more than a third of eBay’s total sales. In the company’s most recent quarter, the payments platform generated $800 million of eBay’s $2.2 billion revenues.

Peter Done

Peter Done is managing director of Peninsula Business Services, the personnel and employment law consultancy he set up having already built a successful betting shop business.

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